Greeting Text

Following twenty years of farmer's markets selling locally grown vegetables, native fruits, and local honey Linda created Marianne's Kitchen in Shoreview, MN, an oasis of good food, conversation and laughter in a suburban food desert. Operating from 2011-2017 the cafe offered home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products, jams, jellies, salsas and locally sourced soups, honey and grains.

The Marianne's Kitchen of sharing, conversation, and learning continues with ongoing commentary, food reviews and food finds as we grow, cook and eat our food and sample local restaurants.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chasing Tacos...we score at El Guadiana

El Guadiana Tacos & Quesadilla
As often-mentioned one problem with having a cafe is that there is nothing to eat at home.  Going out is an option but we usually end up trying to find something late in the evening and if you have two people with somewhat different food interests which often lead to a "discussion" the whole adventure can turn ugly.

Linda said "You pick."  John said "No, you pick...actually you won't want what I want, I'll pick.  I want a taco."  The current favorite spot is the El Chilo taco truck on East 7th ST across from the Holiday Station in downtown St. Paul.  

El Guadiana Tacos & Quesadilla
Given the time of day (8:30 PM on SAT) we headed over to 1248 Arcade at the intersection of Orange and Arcade.  We'd see a taco van there earlier in the parking lot of Morelos Bakery.  Our goal is to try everything once.

El Guadiana Restaurant Movil was not a disappointment.  We had the quesadilla al pastor (marinated pork) and a barbacoa taco and a beef taco.  The tacos were a bit drippy and fell apart and would have benefited from double tortillas.  The quesadilla was outstanding and very large for the price of $6.50.

Food trucks aren't much fun in the winter in MN and the waning days of summer offers an opportunity to try a few more venues.  During the 45 minutes we were there a constant stream of families, all with children, enjoyed the evening.  Our favorite other customers were two three-year old twins, dressed for Saturday night, full of smiles, awaiting their tacos.  We sat at two stools on the Arcade side of the trailer enjoying our food and the sights and more or less pretty thankful for a pleasant evening on the East Side.

Asia's Finest...we will miss you!

Asia's Finest Loses Out to Noodles & Co.
The restaurant business is tough.  You put your money and your heart into something for ten years working the hours that others are enjoying, paying your rent, dealing with equipment and suppliers and inspectors and licensing, etc.  What happens then?  The landlord chooses to not renew your lease, but leases an adjacent space to Noodle's & Co.

Today was Asia's Finest last day and that is sad.  After ten years of hard work and good food this family business has closed.  

It goes without saying that finding good 'real food' in Shoreview is an increasing challenge.   We've lost Golden Quince, Cafe Zia, Kozlak's, Cajun Potluck, Green Ginger, Blue Fox and a few others nearby, each replaced by nothing or a corporate food franchise.  Being a regular customer, supporting local businesses, knowing people's names and their favorite foods is important.  Staff turnover at most franchise food establishments is typically 100%+ per year so it's unlikely anyone will remember you.  At real food venues you can ask for something special or talk with the chef if there is an issue.  With corporate food outlets you go online and fill out a form if you have an issue.

We Feel Terrible
The world changes, retail changes, eating styles change.  We're old enough to remember when the Nankin Cafe defined Chinese (and Asia) cuisine.  The Twin Cities was blessed with a large immigration of Asian citizens following the Viet Nam war and what a pleasant food change to our communities. 

John's mother and aunt used to shop together for clothes, each having an eye for what the other carried best.  As their favorite dress shops closed in their home town they ventured out to other southern MN small towns where they knew of "a good dress shop."  Over time dress shops disappeared with changing clothing styles as slacks replaced dresses, blue jeans became the norm and now as yoga pants upsets yet another industry.  The dress shops in their home town had staff who knew their patron's names, sizes and favorite styles.  Corporations struggle to create that level of customer service.

Staff & Patrons...Last Meal
Consumers can make a choice.  We think it's important to spend our food dollars on small businesses, family businesses, not at corporate food outlets because we know that if we don't support them the choices will be gone, just like the dress shops.  Twenty years ago the Twin Cities saw the emergence of independent coffee shops.  Slowly the corporate coffee companies located in close proximity, eliminated the barista skill set with automated machines and now a German company owns the locally originated Caribou.  These are  big losses when Wall Street and franchise investment groups make your food and coffee choices for you.

Tonight we wished several of the staff well and expressed our sympathy.  They would like to open again, elsewhere, and we hope they do.  We'll get their early and often.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Foxy Falafel...we tried it

Pita Sandwich Special
Foxy Falafel Platter
Foxy Falafel gets rave reviews from some St. Paul food writers.  Saturday evening we gave it a try on Raymond

The special sandwich contained eggplant, cauliflower and tomatoes and came with fries.

Our other meal was the falafel combo with seasoned cabbage, hummus, tomatoes and cucumber and a soft pita.

There appeared to be only two people working.  It looks like the preferred fare may be in their food truck.